Sunday, August 2, 2009

Skillet Chicken, Broccoli & Pasta Dinner - Back to Work Cooking!

 
Summer break is over, so I need to readjust my style of cooking. While I was enjoying my month long vacation, I had the luxury of time when it came to choosing recipes to make for my family.

I need to readjust what I cook, because I need recipes that I can have on the table in 45 minutes, or less. Ideally, the meal won't take a lot of prep work and (if I'm lucky) I'll have leftovers to take for lunch the next day-- hence, more time in the morning to get ready to leave for work after dragging myself out of bed at the evil hour of 5:00am.

Before I discovered the world of Food Blogs, I used to buy quite a few cookbooks. One of my purchases came from America's Test Kitchen-- "Test Kitchen Favorites" from the Season 2007, with a DVD of all the shows included. I have to say that I enjoyed the cookbook and DVD-- and I think these would be a perfect gift for someone who wants to learn (or improve) their culinary skills.

I give thumbs up to many of the recipes in this cookbook-- they have never failed to deliver delicious meals. This skillet dinner is one of them. HOWEVER, the prep time took about 20 minutes to put together. I'm pretty skilled with a knife, so if someone is just learning how to chop, chop, chop-- then I'd say prep work can take at least 30 minutes. The plus side, though, is that once the dinner is underway in cooking, you can tidy up the kitchen.

Enough said-- on with the recipe:

You'll need boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch squares, sun-dried tomatoes, minced garlic, dried oregano (fresh is okay, too), red pepper flakes, chicken broth, broccoli, heavy cream (you could substitute half & half, I suppose but I haven't tested that theory), ziti (I used farfalle, because it's what I had), water, Asiago cheese (I only had Parmesan), and fresh lemon juice. I recommend that you do your mis en place ("mess in place"). Once your have all of your ingredients organized, the cooking part goes fast. Ready?


You'll use olive oil and you want to quickly sear the chicken. Be sure the chicken is patted nice and dry, or you'll just end up steaming the chicken. This takes 2 minutes, max. Set it aside in a bowl...

The nice brown bits from searing the chicken will give the chopped onion and garlic a nice flavor and a pretty golden brown... now it's time to cook the pasta...

Since this is a "skillet dinner", you'll be cooking the pasta in the skillet with chicken with water and chicken broth. Once the pasta water looks "syrupy" it's time to add the sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli and a little more water. The Asiago or Parmesan cheese and lemon juice are on standby...

Give this a little stir...

Put the lid on and let this cook for 3-5 minutes-- just until the broccoli is tender and a pretty bright green.

Now, add the chicken and accumulated juices, the heavy cream and the cheese. Allow this to cook a few minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. This dish smells fragrantly delicious.

Off heat, add the lemon juice and season to taste with kosher (or sea salt) and pepper. As far as I'm concerned, this is far better than "Hamburger Helper"-- by a long shot.


This might not be a 30-Minute meal, but it's very tasty. It reheats well and you could even freeze leftovers for a fast "I'm too tired to cook, what can I defrost?" kind of meal.

I have a feeling I'll be making a few of those when the first day of school starts, in a week's time-- it's the most hectic time of year at my job! But, I love the high school kids and I cannot say that my job is boring at all.

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.





Pasta With Chicken and Broccoli on Foodista



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12 comments:

Monica H said...

Your "mess in place" photo is pretty and your comment made me laugh :-)

I would love this but Mr. H doesn't like sun dried tomatoes- rats!

Donna-FFW said...

I will so be trying this recipe. I have the 30 minute cookbook of theirs and made a similar one with chicken broccoli cheddar and rice. I loved it so I know I will enjoy this one too. Their recipes are always just perfect!

TheKitchenWitch said...

This looks delicious! I will be trying this one for sure!

Cheryl said...

Wow that looks yummy as heck, I cant wait to try it!

Bella said...

Oooh, yum: Anytime I see the word 'cream' I know I'll love it! I agree with you that the Cook's Illustrated cookbooks are winners and also that Rachel Ray needs to tone it down a bit. My horses ate all of my carrots before I could steal some more, so they'll have to suffer with a few peppermints!
P.S. Do you teach for your career? I return to campus (teaching) in two weeks (is why I asked). I will be just like you in regard to cooking (time, planning, simplicity, etc.) Ciao for now, Roz

Kate said...

This looks tasty! Isn't it awful to have to go back to work?!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Debby, You're such an organized cook, I need to take some lesons from you with that "mess in place", my mess seems to all over!
Interesting way to cook the pasta, I never would think of that!

Frieda said...

I love simple meals~ definitely will be trying this one!

Bella said...

I want to thank you for your blog inspiration as I redesigned my blog....I chose the same blog designer as you used.

Please stop on over to check it out and ALSO.....I have something special for you on my post today!

Blessings, Roz

Kerstin said...

I love all the ingredients in this pasta, it sounds delicious!

Maris said...

Debby, we should definitely chat! I have a page full of fast recipes that are good after-work dinners.

This sounds like an excellent meal! I'm going to book mark it.

Anderburf said...

YUM! This looks great! I just got some Himalayan sea salt and organic pepper from Sustainable Sourcing https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com/ and I think I'll try it out in this tonight. Thanks for sharing!